Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by mrnickrussocc » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:14 pm

I think your timeline is too short. You have to take into consideration the number of cars that are still on the road that are not capable of hosting an mp3 player or any sort of digital device. And I'd guess that 8 times out of 10 a person with the technology to convert a non compatible car with a device wouldn't listen to the radio anyway. Point is..as long as people are driving cars made prior to 2007..give or take a year...they're still going to listen to the radio while in the car.

People will always listen to the radio..its just a matter of proving that more people listen to yours when they do than anyone else. Personality is the only way you make some sort of impression that lasts further than the energy it took to push the dial into position.

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by radiookc » Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:53 am

Kendall Weaver. You have started the most interesting thread I have seen in a while.

I don't think it can get any worse than what it is right now.

Radio is not dead if we are local. Local content is king and people have a hunger for
it. I left radio for something a little more secure and I built a 'local' internet
radio project that has been embraced by the community. We were invited to stream live
at a week long arts festival with 300,000 plus in foot traffic. The local CBS-TV affiliate
took notice and did a story on us(radiookc.com). Had I just slapped a stream up on the web I would
have been dead in the water. LOCAL, LOCAL, LOCAL. It will work!

What is scary is that as a former PD, the most rewarding part of my job was bringing
in someone with no experience that had the hunger to do radio. These were your "stars
of tomorrow". There is no development for these kids now. I think that will kill radio
quicker than anything the corporate mis-managers could do.

I am convinced this will all shake out in the next couple of years. I would love to do
LOCAL on air radio again and I think someday it will happen.

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by jayester » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:55 am

Kendall Weaver has struck upon a raw nerve with this thread that needs to be struck again and again. Sometimes we need to look at the obvious as to what is going on right under our collective (industry) noses. And we must acknowledge the fact that indeed there is an 800 pound gorilla in the room (i.e., the internet) that is not leaving anytime soon.
Radiookc is “spot on” too about local radio not being dead, while many pundits agree that it is circling the drain. Still, it is ironic that a world-wide web creation would spawn local network TV coverage. The lessen learned is if you keep it local, in the community’s interest, they will come. Even new potential listeners on Facebook, Twitter, RadioURadioME (just made that one up, not bad eh?) still live at a physical address in some, small town or city where a city grade signal reaches them. And since anyone can get anything whenever they want online why should they listen to a station not relating or serving their local needs? As broadcasters, we need to warm up to the facts and use social media. Consider it an always open request line (without the same 10 people calling in over and over). Get involved and send out warm invitations to community events or promotions sponsored by your station.
Finally, the “Stars of tomorrow” are still out there but rarer then ever, and they will find you. I had the joyful experience of hiring a former forklift driver who worked for Nabisco, who one day came to the station and introduced himself at my office door. Now I am not a fan of “cold calling” but his love for radio exceeded his impressive and sincere introduction. He only worked for me a short time before moving on to a top 10 market. Because of their passion for radio, I would always try and hire a “greenhorn” because after all, in the beginning we all had that same passion seeking that one PD or station that believed in us enough to give us our first job. And serving radio by serving people is what it is all about.

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by kdgp » Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:08 pm

Did I stumble on the wrong web forums...? Isn't this a Radio industry site? Don't we all work (or used to) in radio??
There have been more 'anti-radio' threads on this forum than anywhere else.

And you know what? That is scary.

I said this last time I posted something, but coming on to these isn't looking good to how I want to see my career taking off. I am a new recruit, so to speak, in radio, and seeing all this is really making me to start doubting that decision of whether or not I made a good career choice. Hopefully, I am one of those "stars of tomorrow" that was referred to earlier. I have been in radio for four years, and have loved every minute of it.

Radio is what I've dreamed of doing since childhood, and yes albeit, it's a smaller industry, I don't think radio is going to die. The industry is tough, it's survived worse.

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by soundhound » Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:32 pm

What I find amazing is it seems people are trying the same things in different packaging and headlining these as new accomplishments. First it's Jack, then it's Jill, then Bob, then Frank, and then its Popster or whatever the next month.

I'm not meaning to single out any particular format here, but it seems we have more platforms (FM, HD, Internet, phone apps) and yet we're only repackaging the same content. "Hey, here's a slightly quirky imaging package for a hybrid of Hot AC and classic hits!" - formats that have been around HOW long?

To remain relevant requires stepping out and hiring interesting people to do interesting things. Things that may not fit neatly into our perceptions of format or category.

Now, are we going to do that and create the next AOR or Modern or find a way to make Dance work?

Or are we going to settle for owning six stations, 2 of which perform just well enough to pay the power bill but don't do anything to move radio forward and keep it relevant?

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by goodhelp » Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:37 pm

Well, my friend, Mr or Ms Soundhound...has any radio near you improved in the last year? We know it's probably changed some...more voice-tracked dayparts, more people laid off, fewer staff doing lots more work. Does that "sound" about like it?

As stated earlier in this thread, radio (in general) will begin improving its condition when it begins serving its (local) listener base. Perhaps I should say "super serving its listener base."

Go out to community events (job fair, anyone?) and listen to your potential audience. Ask what's on their mind and they will tell you. Visit schools (my Dad's on the radio!) and colleges (radio as a career? heck try out for the NFL instead!) and hear the feedback. Gather all the "research" you can find.

Then, act on it. Let it inspire you. Ask how can we? instead of why we should not. You'll find most solutions involve connecting people...with other people in your town. Hire talent that wants to "connect" with everyone in town, not just a subset of a format. Listeners can tell when a joke is done and it's time for an adult message of communication...then more music/whatever.

What does it mean to serve your listeners? Beyond the next request and concert calendar? Ask yourself a question. What's the greatest unmet need in my community? Ask it on the air along with the promise to do something about it--and be ready for the response.

Then apply creativity to it--let the sparks fly!--and put the solution on the air. Guaranteed your listeners will be hearing an original radio event, tailored just for them, reaching their hearts and minds. It's n ot likely to "cost" much if anything at all, except your brainpower and teamwork. Do this each month and your audience will become your true fans.

Back in the day, we genuinely called it "public service." ;)

Your station will then be serving the legacy of real radio--serving people, and thus better serving the industry itself, in the footsteps of Edwin Armstrong (FM), Reginald Fessenden (AM), Guglielmo Marconi, Nikola Tesla, Alexander Popov, Jagadish Chandra Bose to Oliver Lodge and many others who together created this broadcast content distribution medium.

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by winterwest » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:05 am

Wow, goodhelp...I always heard you were hard to find. And yet, I log on to AA and here you are! And making sense, too!

Radio will return to being relevant, and yes, even profitable when two things happen...
1) The real estate investors running the industry now give up on trying to make it profitable because of their lack of understanding about the medium, and begin to shed properties to stop their own financial bloodshed.

2) People stop leaning on "new technology" to make radio something it is not and was never meant to be.

Stop leaning on your website, and start being "on-site" at community events and gatherings where your target demo hangs out.

Do something in your community. In a few weeks I'll partner with The Home Depot for the fourth year of providing firewood to veterans and the families of local deployed as fall arrives.

Donate where and when you can if you've got something that will help. Buck Knives sponsors my show and I'm lucky enough to have product I can donate to an upcoming benefit for recent local fire/flood victims.


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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by jayester » Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:16 am

Winterest--very well written! Where are those stations that do these things and are you hiring!? I would like to inject further that even just 10-years ago, stations involved in the community were the ones to profit and prosper and really that has never changed other then the fact non-radio types having to make money with all station promotions first, while strangling the life out of just a good promotional idea that can also be crafted to make money.

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by kendallweaver » Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:23 am

I just realized it's been over a year since I first created this post. Many interesting comments and opinions later, I still stand by what I wrote. The good news is that many stations are doing better as the economy improves. The bad news is, the long term problems I mentioned in my original post still exist. I'm now looking for my next gig in radio, and will always be proud to be a radio Programmer and Air Talent. But we've got to buckle up, because the next few years aren't going to get any easier. But if we do it right, they will be challenging, and fun.
Also. I'm compiling a book about Air Talents to be published this summer called "The American DJ," and will be including stories from DJs around the country. Please see http://www.theamericandj.com for submission info. I know you have stories, right? ;-)
Kendall Weaver

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by kendallweaver » Thu Aug 04, 2011 5:55 am

As a FOOTNOTE: I wanted to add that even in this unstable environment that so many are complaining about, there are still people working and being creative in this industry! I've accepted a position doing Tech Support for RCS/Clear Channel, and am finding it to be a great place to be! It puts me in position as the "expert" assisting stations across the country with their NexGen and GSelector products. I'm on the phone with stations large and small across the country each day, as they rely on RCS's support staff to dial directly into their systems and make sure things run smoothly. So it's a fascinating position, and I'll also be doing some online broadcasting of my own, to keep my "Air Talent" chops up. And I'll finish "The American DJ" book soon. So there you have it.. it's not a great marketplace to be job hunting these days.. but you only need one job, right? Keep looking and work to improve your presentation... and "network!"

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